“Speaking the truth in love…” Ephesians 4:15
As summer draws to a close, people are making those last minute preparations to begin a new school year. Many parents and students are visiting the malls and shopping centers in hopes of finding some good sales on much needed, back-to-school items. Our family is no exception when it comes to buying new clothes and school supplies so that everyone can be “all dressed up” on the first day of school.
In Romans 13:14, the Bible tells the believer to put on Christ and make no provision for the flesh. In other words, we are to be all spiritually dressed up and presentable to the Lord and the world around us. One of the key ways that Christians can adorn themselves with the Saviour is by “speaking the truth in love…” Ephesians 4:15
The Greek word for “speak the truth”, (aletheuontes), is interesting in that it literally means, manifest or be the truth. There are three primary ways in which we can “speak the truth” in love:
First, we are to be the truth or be truthful in all that we do and say. Recently, I spoke in a church where someone from the congregation praised their long-term pastor for, “being the real deal.” Probably no greater compliment could be given to the Christian than for others to take note of his genuine Christ-like character.
Second, we are to hold the truth in love (2 Timothy 1:13). Dispensing the truth of the gospel should never be done in a cold and hardened manner. When Stephen was put on trial for supposed blasphemy (Acts 6:8 – 7:60) because he had been preaching Christ, he did not hold back from telling the truth. They were “not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spake.” (Acts 6:10). In the end, as the rocks were being hurled at him and he lay dying, godly Stephen called out, “Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.” (Acts 7:60). Perhaps it was Stephen’s love and forgiveness for those murdering him that helped drive home the greater truth of God’s love to a man named Saul of Tarsus. The Bible records for us that the witnesses laid their clothes at the feet of Saul, who was “consenting” unto the death of Stephen (Acts 7:58, 8:1). Later, Saul the persecutor became Paul the Apostle (Acts 9:1-19; 1 Cor. 15:9) who would go on to pen the words of our text, “speaking the truth in love.”
Third, we must speak the truth in love. We cannot remain silent in a world abounding with all manner of evil, heresies, and misrepresentations of Christ. It would be equally shameful to never speak of the joy that awaits those who experience the love of God. Oh how we need a generation of Christians who would get “all dressed up” in love and “speak the truth” to the nations!
Post by: Jack Caron, NBBI Faculty, Web Administrator
This article appears in the September 2012 Open Bible Bulletin.